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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What YOU don't understand about being a woman sports writer

When you pick up the newspaper and read the sports section or log on to your favorite sports web site, most of y'all don't notice the byline. You're reading the story about your favorite team or player. You want to celebrate the win, bemoan the loss or just get mad because you don't like what was written.

Then you look at the byline. That's when you leave your comments -- as you have the right to do --and if the author is a woman, some how her sex is always in the mix.

Of course, sports is rocket science and how in the world can a woman grasp it?
It's one thing for readers to "diss" a woman who covers sports. Most readers will hate what anyone who doesn't fawn over their favorite team says. On the other hand, having a "professional" athlete call you sweetheart in a press conference because you asked a football question -- that's just sexist, immature and offensive.

Let me tell you something about the "sweetheart" Cam Newton referred to on Sunday after the Panthers lost another game. She's been covering sports since 1997. She's 35 and can read a defense. Yet, when I tell people I cover sports, I get asked questions that no man would be subjected to:

You get to go in the locker room? How else will I interview the players after a game? The NFL, NBA they don't really do a lot of on the field on the court interviews.
Do the players ever ask you out? Why would they? I'm a reporter with a recorder in their face. I'm doing my job --which is to ask them questions about their job.
Has anyone ever called you sweetheart?  Err. . .until Sunday, nope.

Before Cam Newton's sarcastic "sweetheart" comment, I couldn't say that I had ever experienced any sexism on the job. I was treated with the same indifference as my male colleagues. That was fine with me. Here's what you don't get about being a woman sports writer: We don't want special treatment. We just want the story.
We don't want to date the athletes, we want the story.

While many in the South don't see a thing wrong with a man calling a woman sweetheart, the Charlotte Fox affiliate made that clear, but calling a woman, who's doing her job sweetheart (and calling a man in that same presser sir) only makes the man look bad.

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